Honors English 11
4 December 2008
Sin in the American Morality Unit
In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne was punished publicly and harshly for her sin. Also, in the novel The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, many innocent people were punished for sins they did not commit. The preceding works were set in Puritan New England. The Puritans believed in doing God’s work and following a strict moral code. The theme of sin was represented in both novels in the form of Hester Prynne, Rodger Chillingworth, and Abigail Williams.
Hester Prynne was The Scarlet Letter’s main character who committed the crime of adultery. She ventured to the New World a few years before her husband, and had an affair with her true love, Arthur Dimmesdale. She was publicly punished and looked down upon because of her sins. She was forced to stand upon a scaffold holding her newborn baby, as an example for all other potential sinners. Also, Hester was ordered to wear The Scarlet Letter A upon her bosom, to serve as a reminder of her sins not only to herself, but to all those surrounding her. “The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her and concentrated upon her bosom”(Hawthorne 55). This quote by Hawthorne states the feeling of Hester as she stood atop the scaffold. It also was foreshadowing what would happen throughout the rest of Hester’s life, as she attracted many unwanted glares at the letter upon her chest. Little Pearl was also a symbol of the sin committed between Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. She was proof of the crime committed and considered an evil child because she was born to a parent with corrupt morals. “Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quantity of human life, working such effect that the world was only the darker for this woman’s beauty, and the more lost for the infant that she had...